On August 25th this past summer, the Timberwolves made an unexpected trade for savvy guard Patrick Beverley (Wolves dealt Juancho Hernangomez and Jarret Culver in the deal).
Beverley, who had just lost to the Suns in the Western conference finals was very happy about the news. According to Patrick Beverley’s trainer “He was excited… he couldn’t wait to tell me that he was headed to Minnesota… he’s gonna give them everything he’s got”. And Beverley has done just that.
We all knew the struggling wolves would benefit defensively from this acquisition, but his impact has been much larger than we expected. The Timberwolves through 17 games rank 7th in team defensive rating, and 5th in team defensive efficiency. The Wolves defense has completely outperformed its expectations.
Before we talk about his defense, the offense is also worth mentioning. He’s now became a consistent starter on the team, putting up 8.6 PPG – 4.7 RPG – 4.7 APG. While also shooting 46% from the field and 35% from 3.
Beverley’s defense probably isn’t even the biggest factor he’s added to this team. As great as his defense is, he doesn’t make the 27th ranked defense turn into a top 10 defensive team by just playing defense. It’s the energy he brings, and the mindset he’s passed down to his teammates. He’s been a culture changed.
In the past (last year) the wolves didn’t emphasize enough energy on the defensive side. The Wolves had a bunch of offensive stars that wanted to play offense. There really wasn’t an “enforcer” that directed guys to make plays on defense, and that’s what Beverley has done.
Guys like D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards have really stepped up this year. And some of that is due to Beverley’s defensive leadership. Before this season, Russell was a complete liability on defense. Now Russell has bumped his defensive rating to 95.5, compared to an atrocious 116.8 last year (the lower the better). He seems to care a lot more on that end.
Naz Reid during a press conference said “we didn’t really have a defensive leader (in the past) and Beverley has brought that. He’s been the head of the horse”. Naz then said “We even got Jaden (McDaniels) speaking, and Jaden’s been pretty quiet. It’s working”. Beverley has impacted the wolves youngest defensive star (Jaden McDaniels) in a great way early on.
Beverley has also been one of the vocal locker room leaders. After a long intense and sloppy win against the Sacramento Kings, Beverley told the guys to “Do it again” and that win was “nothing to celebrate”. The mindset the wolves have needed for years.
And the wolves did it again. They actually did it again 3 more times in a row, with the team currently finding themselves in a 4-game win streak. Beverley was the acquisition the wolves needed, and he’s worked out tremendously.
The Timberwolves are currently slotted as the 10th seed in the western conference. They really turned the season around after losing 6 straight. The Wolves have playoff aspirations, and Beverley is a center-piece to that. Patrick Beverley is the player the Timberwolves franchise needed.